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Old 09-05-2012, 07:05 PM   #1
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Not sure if this counts as being "non-traditional", but does anyone have tips on how to manage 2 kids (3.5 yo girl and a 5 month old boy) without the help of TV? We don't actually have cable or even the "free channels" but I've been relying on DVDs and netflix a lot more that I'd like to since my son was born (and even while I was big, pregnant, and tired).. I try to set up activities for her, and sometimes that works, but sometimes she wants me to do them with her and the only way I can get my son down for a nap is to offer a DVD Any advice?


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Old 09-05-2012, 08:13 PM   #2
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Re: TV-free?

I have to preface my answer by saying that I have the advantage now of having a 5.5 DD and a 3.5 DD so they can entertain each other well. But, I did have a 2 year old while having a baby and it can be tricky. I would suggest a bin of special toys/books that are only for when you are putting DS down for nap. Or maybe a special assignment (like sorting the laundry to be a big helper) to keep her busy. I personally love the tot-school and preschool ideas on She has lots of things to do with toddlers and preschoolers. I also love the Gymboree books for ideas for what to do with these young ages. Maybe being more intentional when everyone is awake would allow her the space to be a bit more patient when you need to give one on one time. HTH! It does get easier...
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Re: TV-free?

I agree that it is a good idea to have special books/toys for these times. Also, maybe try slowly decreasing the time/days that she can watch TV. I know how tough it is!
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:20 PM   #4
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Re: TV-free?

Set a timer and stick to it. If I just turn on the tv for my kids I get lost in the "extra" time it creates for me and by the time I realize it it's been an hour or more. I'll set it for 15 mins. That seems to please them enough.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:51 PM   #5
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Re: TV-free?

We do not have a TV in the main house, and my 5.5 and 3.5 yo are screen-free. It is tough. But I am sticking to my guns. DH and I recall watching a lot of TV as kids and want the opposite for our fam.

We do have a tv in the basement that we can use if there is something news worthy we want to catch.

I am trying to install a movie night for the family once a month and am struggling with choices (another post), b/c the kids have such limited screen time, they are afraid of a lot of "tv" things.

Anywho, to answer your question, I had trouble with nap time as well. Not sure what your sleeping/house arrangements are, but at first I would put DS1 right outside the (almost closed) bedroom door while I read/nursed DS2 so he could hear what was going on and still feel included. I would give him a book or two to look at quietly. It took him some time to understand what quiet meant, but eventually he got the point and just ended up doing his own quiet thing while I did the nap routine.

I also used (childrens) books on cd. You can get them from the library and they can listen to the book and flip through the pages at the same time. He really liked this.

It really is possible to go screen-free. It takes courage, patience and time on your part, but just stick with it. Some days I want to through in the screen free towel. But when I stick to my guns, I feel great and I know that my kids are getting the most out of life by using their minds to create fun and pass the time.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:01 AM   #6
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Re: TV-free?

With running my own business as a WAHM with a [20 month old] little one in tow and the fact that we'll be ttc soon, I feel this post is a glimpse into my future. haha!

We're a TV-free family with a screen-free tot.

My partner and I occasionally watch a movie after kiddo's bedtime, but not while he's around. We also limit our screen time when he is awake. I don't really have much advice.. it just works for us. We have found a very calm and comfortable rhythm for our family, and when we have things to do, there just isn't any time for TV.

Just 1-2 activities per day is more than enough to fill a day, in addition to eating, naps, and general care. Pinterest is great for craft or sensory ideas, but unstructured free play is beneficial to young kiddos, too.

Sorry if that wasn't very helpful, but maybe it's at least a starting point for you?

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:58 PM   #7
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Re: TV-free?

Getting any better?
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:02 PM   #8
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Re: TV-free?

Use books, and such...NO TV, in my opinion. It can stunt children's imagination, activity levels, and social development.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:50 PM   #9
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If you are currently doing more tv than just when getting the baby down for a nap I would start there.

Is she into computer games yet? I've just introduced my 3.5 to Doodle Fit, which is a free android game. I had to play with him at first but now he understands how to do it, even if he can't manage to solve the puzzles. I have an app called kids place on my tablet that gives him access to 3 games and can be set on a timer. I feel a lot better having him play that game learning to recognize patterns than just sitting passively watching tv.

As for how to get rid of screen time, I'm sure as we haven't had a tv in years and it has always been extremely limited :-(

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Old 03-12-2014, 04:57 AM   #10
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I have a 5.5 year old,3.5 year old and 2 month old. It's hard to not use tv to help!!! Like a pp I have two others so it helps but we are finding some transition and discipline problems come up when they have too much tv

What has helped me is that we do a half hour to an hour in the later afternoon (and not always). Having some tv helps them know it's comin and it helps me get dinner!

I would try the book on cd idea an also maybe the apps that are educational? My dd who is five doesn't nap but she's good about playing quietly. It may take some time but try to teach her about some things she can do by herself.
Shannon- married to DH for seven years, mom to DD 6/10/08, DS 8/29/10 and Gabriella Marie (Ella), born on 7/5/12 with Trisomy 13 and in heaven with Jesus. And our rainbow- DS2 12/24/13
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